Social engineering has evidently earned a new level of respect from hacker
community: For the first time, this year's Defcon gathering in Las Vegas will
feature a contest in which participants will compete to gather nuggets of
information from unsuspecting target companies -- over the telephone instead of
the Internet.

Social engineering has enjoying an increasingly effective and prominent role
in effective online attacks. The term itself is a big one, encompassing targeted
surveillance and information-gathering techniques that early hacking stars such
as Kevin Mitnick mastered (and went on to

write about
), down to the ubiquitous phishing and spam email message.

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